Minnesotans will find religion

Consider this, which should be a victory for boys, except it won’t be because of the ridiculous cop-out.

The state’s insurance programs for 670,000 low-income Minnesotans no longer include coverage of Viagra, sex-change operations or circumcisions, unless required by one’s religion.

This will never pass any form of challenge, of course, because of the religious exception. How is the state supposed to verify that? And I must ask, how does a religion “require” circumcision? Freedom of religion means the child has the same right to choose his religion. His parents may raise him in their religion, but they do not have the right to impose a severe physical mutilation upon him. We don’t let parents circumcise girls if that’s part of their religion. Why are boys exempt from such protection?

And there’s this:

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, a chiropractor and father of six boys, agreed. He added two exemptions, to allow payment if it’s medically necessary or part of someone’s “religious practice.”

Rep. Abeler is wise to include the medically necessary provision, but along with an increase in religion, I suspect there will also be a significant increase in “medically necessary” diagnoses in the future. American physicians already perform far too many circumcisions for grossly-misdiagnosed foreskin problems such as phimosis. This will only get worse when the incentive for the parent is to push the doctor for circumcision. I’m already momentarily pretending that the $54 average fee for performing circumcisions won’t factor into the decision. It’s shameful.

Every state should adopt this policy. With state budgets under constant scrutiny for cost-cutting measures, this is an easy, immediate solution, saving funds for necessary medical procedures. As the article states, Minnesota is the 16th state to eliminate state funding for routine neonatal circumcision. The other 34 states must follow suit, without the ridiculous exemptions.

For what it’s worth, insurance companies should eliminate funding for routine neonatal circumcision, the most performed surgery in America. Insurance companies justify funding circumcisions as a benefit that satisfies a customer demand. Insurance companies correctly refuse to pay for cosmetic surgery, such as breast augmentation, for adults. They shouldn’t pay for forced cosmetic surgery on infants.

Should looters be shot?

Enough has already been written by others about the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, so I’ll pose the question most interesting to me now. I don’t remember a situation deteriorating as fast as the one in New Orleans since the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King verdict, and I feel comfortable saying that this is worse by a huge margin. So, should looters be shot?

I’ll point you to this post by KipEsquire for reference on my thinking. Consider:

I therefore think it’s wrong to call Katrina victims who are robbing stores for food, water or first aid supplies “looters.” Trespassers, certainly, but trespassers entitled to assert the privilege of “private necessity.” Of course, if such “acquirers” are ethical and if the logistics of the recovery and rebuilding allow it, then they should attempt to make restitution later on. But legally and morally they are entitled not to be condemned as “looters.”

On the other hand, stealing televisions or laptops or weapons or anything else above and beyond the barest essentials for life most certainly does constitute “looting” and should be prevented by any means necessarily, including the use of deadly force.

I agree with his assessment. Yet, when I had this discussion with my brother today, he disagreed vehemently with me, stating that we can’t shoot people for property. I think I’m right, but I’m curious to read what other people think. To hopefully sway your thinking, consider this analysis, which is what I argued when discussing the necessary response to looting.

I fully acknowledge that shooting looters is an inappropriately disproportionate response if one views looting as mere larceny. But one doesn’t shoot looters to protect property, one does so to protect order. Somebody is going to suffer unjustly when society breaks down. I don’t understand why Muller thinks it preferable for the law-abiding citizens to be the cost-bearers. History has shown repeatedly that the way to stop an anarchic riot is an early display of substantial force.

I’m willing to consider shades of grey, such as stealing televisions versus carjacking and armed robbery of hospital narcotics. Also of interest, what about looters stealing firearms? Are they stealing them to defend themselves or to form roving gangs?

So, please, post comments if you have an opinion. I think anyone stealing non-essentials should be shot because the need to restore order is above all else because stability precedes the emergency officials’ ability to respond. What do you think?